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Tres Reyes Island view of the Marinduque Mainland

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cloyne Court- Excerpt 16


Cloyne Court, Episode 16
By Dodie Katague
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Rated "R" by the Author.

Cloyne Court, Berkeley, California in the late 1970s.

"What is it with men and their need to overpower their natural environment?" Carrie, the lesbian, asked the day after Alan went on a Saturday afternoon marathon of loud music in the backyard.

I replied, "The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.1]"

She huffed. "You men are all alike. You stick together even when you know you're wrong."

"Wrong about what?"

"His choice of music. Making fun of transvestites just leads to violence against transgender people. Besides, The Kinks are so passé."

"Lola was only one song out of the dozens he played," I said, and thought she should have objected to Alan's airing of Village People's Macho Man, which he played repeatedly. I was humming the chorus for days afterward.

I told Alan what Carrie had said. The next Saturday he proclaimed it "Transgender and Crossdresser Appreciation Day" and recorded a cassette tape of songs that included Pink Floyd's Arnold Layne, Little Richard's Long Tall Sally, Led Zeppelin’s Royal Orleans, Rebel, Rebel by David Bowie, Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side and Monty Python's The Lumberjack Song, which he played repeatedly all afternoon.

* * *

Our third roommate was Mark or Mike or Matt. I never actually knew his name. Alan and I hardly saw him. When we did, he was asleep. He was an engineering student from the San Jose area not far from Berkeley, so he went home most weekends. He may have had a girlfriend back home, but he was shy, didn’t talk much, and Alan and I didn’t get to know him well enough to learn anything about him.

One weekend, Alan came into the room looking worried. He said, “I met some homeless dude downstairs. He doesn’t live here, but I think he sleeps in the basement. He knows I have some cool, stereo equipment. I think he’s been peeking in our window.”
“Alan, everyone with ears knows you have expensive stereo equipment. I think everyone within six-blocks knows.”

“Well, I think we need to take some precautions. Someone may want to steal it."

“What do you want to do?"

“Let’s take a bed sheet and cover the window, so thieves can’t look into the room."

We looked at all our possessions. We did not have a spare bed sheet to cover the window. Our absent roommate did. It was on his bed, neatly made.

“Let’s use our roomie’s bed sheet," he said. "We’ll have to put it back before he returns Sunday night.” He pulled the sheet off the bed.

"We should use duct tape to hang that up," I said.
"Naw, these thumbtacks will do just fine."

For weeks, after Mark or Mike or Matt left for home on Friday afternoons, Alan removed the bed sheet from his bed and thumb tacked it over the window. Every Sunday afternoon, we would have to remember to take it down and put it back on his bed. This worked fine until the end of the quarter during finals, when both of us forgot to remake his bed and Mark or Mike or Matt returned to find his property covering the window. He didn’t say a word. He took it down, made his bed and moved out at the end of the term. His only complaint was left in a written message in my telephone message box at the front switchboard. It said, "There were thumbtack holes in my bed sheet". I knew we should have used duct tape.
________________________________________

This episode is based on a true story.

Although seventy-five percent of this memoir is factual, liberties were taken with the other twenty-five percent for plot purposes. That is where scenes were recreated from memory when they were not clearly defined in the journals written by the author from 1976 to 1980.

Individual characters are composites of several people and do not represent any one person, and the names have been changed to protect innocent people that may be guilty of indiscretions in their youth.


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[1] However, as I was to discover in my mid-forties, the price of a sports car is inversely proportional to the amount of hair remaining on your head.

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